Shoes that Last: Buy These Soles for Life

It seems as though the majority of us own too many pairs of shoes. They take up space in the closet and, most of the time, they don’t even last more than one season. For adults, comfort is key, especially in the working world. And our buying tends to get out of control when we purchase a trendy new pair, realize they hurt our feet after a long day, and then they get thrown in a closet corner – rarely to ever return again.

Change your habits. Start investing in the soles of your feet.

Buy Your Shoes For Life

Stop wasting money on shoes that don’t fit your needs. Invest in leather boots or heels that you can re-sole or spruce up by visiting a cobbler. Yes, cobblers are still a very real thing and can help you with all your upkeep needs in the shoe department. Search for a cobbler in a city near you with this handy shoe repair finder site.

You may be spending a bit more than you’d usually a lot for new pieces of your wardrobe, but when they last years instead of one or two seasons, you realize how far those dollars really can go over time, reaping the benefits.

A good tip to keep in mind is that a shoe that has the ability to be repaired is a durable, long-lasting, and smart purchase. A quality shoe you can resole is also one that is more likely to show up at thrift stores, making them a steal (especially if they don’t need a resole yet).

Quality shoes to buy for life

What To Look For When Shopping

When it comes to searching for shoes that will last (and work for our lifestyles) we have to think about style first, sure. It’s like picking a mate, the attraction needs to be there. But after that layer is uncovered, what else should you be looking for?


Well, your feet want to be pampered. They don’t jive well with the “beauty is pain” mantra. Instead, they want something that supports the arch. Molds to their shape. Cups their heels. And don’t jab any of their toes either.

One of the most important aspects of shoe shopping is nailing the right material. Leather is the winner here. For any kind of shoe, your best bet will be a long-lasting, good quality leather. It’s also known for flexing and molding to the feet – and having the ability to hold that shape for years to come.

The Sole

Make sure that you’re buying a shoe that has a sole that can be repaired. What does that mean? Well, check for a Goodyear Welt Construction. When a shoe has a Goodyear welt, cobblers are able to re-sole this type of shoe construction quite easily. This kind of welt looks like a piece of leather, plastic, or rubber that runs along the perimeter of a shoe. You see this in everything from boots to sneakers to some sandals.

By the way, if you’re thinking that Goodyear sounds familiar, it’s because the son of Charles Goodyear (yes, the tires) is the man who came up with the machinery used for the process of the welt.

6 Kinds of Shoes That Last

Leather Sneakers | Adidas Sambas

Adidas Sambas

Most sneakers aren’t actually Buy it For Life options. They wear out with the normal wear and tear of life. And most sneakers aren’t made out of leather – nearly the only material that has the durability to stay around for years. Adidas Sambas have been around for a while, known for their life and are available in both men’s and women’s sizes. You can also purchase them with an all-leather upper.

  • Buy: Amazon
  • Price: $42.22 – $149.38
  • Sole: Cushioned midsole
  • Features: Available in an all-leather design with a suede overlay

Classic Loafers | Allen Edmonds Cavanuah Penny Loafer

Classic Loafers | Allen Edmonds Cavanuah Penny Loafer

You may be paying a few hundred for a classic pair of leather loafers but they and last you a decade or longer if you go with the right pair. Allen Edmonds is known for its handsewn construction and long-lasting designs. These are quality dress shoes that will become one of your go-to picks for every workday.

  • Buy: Allen Edmonds
  • Price: $189 – 275
  • Sole: Single oak leather sole
  • Features: Calfskin leather, available in 4 neutral tones and varying widths

Slide-On Sandals | Birkenstocks “Arizona”

Slide-On Sandals | Birkenstocks “Arizona”

Stop giving away your money to flip-flops you have to throw out every season. Instead, invest in durable, comfortable, and fortunately for you, super trendy Birkenstock slip-on sandals. There are several designs under this brand that are really popular but the classic is the two-strap, big buckle.

  • Buy: Birkenstock
  • Price: $125
  • Sole: Birkenstock signature cork footbed & shock-absorbing sole
  • Features: Your choice of varying leathers, comes in synthetic uppers if preferred, made in Germany

All-Weather Boots | L.L. Bean Duck Boots

All-Weather Boots | L.L. Bean Duck Boots

These are recognizable on anyone anywhere and they’re made for everyone too. Men, women, and the kiddos too – these styles may cost a few more bucks than for a regular ole’ pair of all-weather boots – but you’ll have them for a long, long time. The best part? You can have them resoled on location!

  • Buy: L.L. Bean
  • Price: $129 – 229
  • Sole: Original rubber tread
  • Features: Full-grain leather, handcrafted in Maine since 1912

Offbeat Lace-Ups | Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars

Offbeat Lace-Ups | Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars

These are classic, staple lace-ups we should all have in our closet. And although they aren’t leather, they will last and they can be resoled. They can also be thrown in the wash to look sparkling new again and new laces can be bought anytime for a quick makeover. A unisex shoe, it never goes over of style for the lot of us.

  • Buy: Amazon
  • Price: Avg. price $100
  • Sole: Rubber sole
  • Features: Washable canvas, can be found with an all-leather upper, comes in both high and low top design, varying colors and prints

Combat Boots | Doc Martens

Combat Boots | Doc Martens

They may take a little while to break it but they’re worth every second of the process! These will easily last you too because they’re known for their life guarantee – making their shoes worth the constant use throughout the days, weeks, and years that you wear them. They’re also available for both men and women!

  • Buy: Amazon
  • Price: Avg. price $125
  • Sole: 100% Leather
  • Features: Air-Cushioned Sole & Slip Resistance

Funky Clogs | Swedish Hasbeens 

Funky Clogs | Swedish Hasbeens

These have that minimal, Swedish style but with a dose of the 1970s built right in. And even though they’re a niche shoe, they will last you through the changing of the seasons and the trends.

  • Buy: Swedish Hasbeens
  • Price: $250
  • Sole: Rubber sole
  • Lime-tree wood, Italian-grain leather, soften & stretch with wear

Best Thongs | Rainbow Sandals

Best Flop | Rainbow Sandals

If you feel like you really need a flip-flop to do some summer damage, Rainbows are your best bet. They will mold to the contours of your feet and become one of your vacation must-have items. These shoes are also one of the more affordable pairs of the lot!

  • Buy: Amazon
  • Price: $45 – 55
  • Sole: Rubber sole
  • Features: Premium Nubuck Leather, memory foam single layer midsole, over 10 color combinations